Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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3D bio-scaffold with magnetic nanoparticles to control cell growth for tissue repair and regeneration

20 January 2023

Lining Up

Just as fastidious gardeners might erect a trellis to guide their plants, tissue engineers build microscopic scaffolds to support and steer cell development. To overcome the challenges of precise construction at tiny scales, researchers have been experimenting with imbuing the materials with magnetic properties, which might mean the pieces could be aligned by an external magnetic field. A new study aimed to develop a form of injectable 3D hydrogel (a material that supports cell growth), with rod-shaped microgels containing magnetic nanoparticles. The nanoparticles, made of an iron oxide called maghemite, let researchers create a carefully aligned structure of rods (red in the video, with both parallel and perpendicular arrangements) over which mouse fibroblasts (connective tissue, green and blue) can grow. Tweaking the magnetic field strength or orientation enabled control over the scaffold setup, highlighting the potential of this approach for steering the growth of cells for regeneration and repair.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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